Monthly Archives: January 2017

Cygnet Law takes on former trainee

Jessica Barrowman, in-house counsel for Cygnet Law, with newly qualified solicitor Eleanor Barber

Cygnet Law has bolstered its workforce with the appointment of a former trainee as a permanent member of its legal team.

Cygnet Law has taken on Eleanor Barber, 25, as a solicitor following the completion of her two year-long solicitor training contract.

During her traineeship with the Redcar-based firm, the University of Sunderland and Northumbria graduate shadowed the work of a number of departments, seeing first-hand how specialist solicitors work within the Public Law, Private Family Law, and Mental Health Law spheres.

Eleanor said: “I’m over the moon to be beginning my legal career at Cygnet Law, especially as it’s a local business. It just goes to show that there are opportunities for young people in Tees Valley to get onto the career ladder. You don’t need to go to London or elsewhere to be successful.”

“I learned a tremendous amount during my two year traineeship here and I look forward to implementing those lessons as a fully-qualified solicitor.

“My work can be very challenging and demanding, but ultimately very rewarding.”

Peter Medd, Director at Cygnet Law, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to offer Eleanor a position with us here at Cygnet Law. She has proved herself to be a valuable and capable member of our team throughout her training contract, and we look forward to watching her flourish in her new role.”


Law firm warns that a debt bubble could lead to surge of divorces in 2017

John Robinson, a divorce solicitor at Cygnet Law


Cygnet Law is predicting that the UK’s record high household debt could lead to a surge in divorces in the near future.

John Robinson, a director and divorce specialist at Redcar-based Cygnet Law, is warning that record levels of household debt may lead to a sudden increase in the number of divorces if the UK’s debt bubble bursts in 2017.

The latest research from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) shows that unsecured debt, excluding mortgages, has reached a record high of £349 billion, which is the equivalent of £12,887 per household, meaning that debt now averages at 27.4% of household income nationally.

Mr Robinson explains: “Historically we have seen an increase in divorce rates during times of economic hardship. Financial concerns can put a serious strain on a relationship and people reach a breaking point where they feel they can no longer go on.

“Whilst employment has risen in the North East, wages still equate to less spending power than they did a few years ago. People are feeling the pinch and supplementing their income with credit cards and loans. It seems that, for now, most people are able to cope with this extra debt, but with a tumultuous year ahead of us in the form of a new American president and the triggering of Article 50, this may well change which would mean that their financial circumstances could change dramatically very quickly.

“I’ve dealt with thousands of divorces over the years and know all too well how debt can impact on a marriage. In some cases, debt leads to secrecy as people try to hide money trouble from their partners, perhaps because they are scared or embarrassed. Other times, one partner can feel as though the debt is the fault of the other, which in turn breeds resentment.”

Mr Robinson added: “Of course, I would always recommend that any couple who feel their relationship is at breaking point due to money worries to seek help first and foremost. This could be from the local Citizens Advice Bureau or another similar organisation.”

Cygnet Law questions the ethics of ‘Divorce Week’



Cygnet Law, a specialist family and mental health law practice, has questioned the ethics of the so-called ‘Divorce Week’.

The first few working days after the festive period have come to be known as ‘Divorce Week’ by some in the industry, who claim it is the busiest period of the year for family lawyers dealing with separation cases. With some research* going so far as to claim that up to 20percent of married people are currently considering a split.

John Robinson, a director and specialist divorce solicitor at Cygnet Law, believes that some legal firms are using the statistic to capitalise on what can be such a difficult time for families. He said: “Divorces are serious things, which can often be upsetting and problematic for those people involved and really should not be used as a marketing gimmick. Cygnet is very much a people and community-focussed business and we believe in treating our clients and their partners with respect, especially during difficult times such as divorce. We feel it is our duty to support our clients as they go through financially and emotionally-testing times.”

Cygnet’s own findings point towards a different divorce peak, one which occurs during September and October. Mr Robinson believes this flurry of separation happens as children return to school: “We have found that we have more divorce-related inquiries in the weeks following the end of the school summer holidays. I believe this may be because parents have spent too much time together and come to realise they are no longer right for one another.

“Another reason – which is actually highlighted in the same bit of research that the Divorce Week doomsayers have taken their information from – is that some parents are trying not to upset the family balance whilst the children are spending more time at home. In fact, the research says that one in four unhappy couples stay in the relationship longer than they wanted to for the sake of their children.”